Ghana: National Spatial Development Framework (2015-2035)

In order to address the challenges of spatial planning in the country, especially in the urban and peri urban areas, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, through the Land Administration Project (LAP 2), has provided funds for the development of a National Spatial Development Framework (NSDF) for the entire country, by the Town and Country Planning Department. The NSDF provides the spatial framework for the development of the country for
the next 20 years (i.e. from 2015-2035). In addition to the NSDF, the project has supported the completion of a new Land Use and Planning Bill, which is currently before Cabinet for consideration. These two key outputs of the project are expected to change the way we plan and develop our cities and towns going forward.

Access the National Spatial Development Framework (NSDF):


South Africa: Establishment of the South African Geomatics Council

Published in Gazette 39052, the Geomatics Profession Act came into force on 1 August 2015. The act was assented to in December 2013. It provides for the transformation of the geomatics profession and the setting up of the South African Geomatics Council as a juristic person and its facilitation of accessibility to the geomatics profession. The geomatics practitioner collects and assesses geographic information and applies that information in the efficient administration of land, sea and structures. The act also provides for:

  • Different categories of registered persons and branches in the geomatics profession.
  • The identification of areas of work to be performed by the different categories of registered persons.
  • The recognition of certain voluntary associations by the council.
  • The measures designed to protect the public from unethical geomatics practices.
  • Measures in order to maintain a high standard of professional conduct and integrity in the profession.
  • The establishment of disciplinary mechanisms and an appeal board.


South Africa: National Land Cover 2013/2014 data sets for download mid August 2015

Land cover data is a crucial reference dataset that informs a wide variety of activities ranging from environmental planning and protection, development planning, economic development, compliance monitoring, enforcement and strategic decision making. The National Land Cover 2013/2014 (NLC 2013/2014) dataset provides 72 land cover/land use classes at a 1:75 000 - 1:100 000 data application scale.

With classes ranging from agriculture, forestry, vegetation, wetlands, mining and built up areas to name a few. The data sets were acquired by the Department of Environmental Affairs with open user license from GeoTerraImage.

Please note: The Department of Environmental Affairs will be receiving updated versions of other National Land Cover products such as the 1990 National Land Cover - 34 classes dataset.

If you stand in need of such data products, please feel free to e-mail your contact details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Note also: Data available at the Department of Environmental Affairs ‘Spatial data download’ web page:; you will see a list of the spatial data sets contained within each section, and may click them to download them.

Recently added data include:

  • Renewable Energy EIA Application Database for SA, 2015 Quarter 2
  • Protected areas map: 2015 Quarter 2
  • Protected Areas Data Release - Second Quarter 2015
  • Renewable Energy EIA Application Database for SA, 2015 Quarter 2
  • Solar data; three national data sets are available: Global Horizontal Irradiance, Photovoltaic yield (fixed) and Photovoltaic yield (tracking)


Guiana: IGN and GIS Platform mission

In March 2015, IGN (National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information) and the regional platform GIS (Geographic Information System)organized a joint mission in the municipality of Ouanary for carrying out surveys and GPS the introduction of bench marks and geodetic control points. Goal: feed the multi-thematic spatial data of the municipality. IGN is the reference public operator for Geographic and Forest Information in France. It provides support for public authorities to contribute to the analysis of the territories, facilitate the implementation of development projects and sustainable development, and facilitate enforcement.

IGN performs this year its first coming in Guyana. After visiting in Camopi, Three Jumps, Matoury, Cayenne, Rémire, Montsinéry and Roura, representatives of the Institute visited Regina, St. George and Ouanary from 10 to 13 March to perform their mission, assisted by the team of regional GIS platform, which has the opportunity to provide technical training to use the platform with municipal officials referring to the three municipalities.

The lack of accurate geometric data earlier makes it all the more precious the presence of IGN in French Guiana, in the perspective of local development. The multi-thematic data available online on the platform will benefit from the GIS-precision work carried out by the IGN in the field. The drawing up of development projects in local communities, such as the layout of roads, or installing landfills will be facilitated and justified by reliable data, the platform-SIG enables users to view and cross all data necessary for the development of a project.

India: Bhuvan Ganga (Ganges) Web Portal

The recently launched Bhuvan Ganga web portal and the Bhuvan Ganga mobile application will use existing geospatial information and crowd-sourced reporting to monitor pollution levels in the River Ganga (Ganges). The data portal already provides access to a variety of geospatial information including as flood hazard zones and environmental data and visitors to the site will be able to contribute to the project by uploading shapefiles and WMS layers.

Impressed by geospatial resources such as Google Earth, but concerned about potential misuses of the information following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, the Indian Government launched its own version, describing Bhuvan as a gateway to the geospatial world. The benefits of providing open access to national, regional and local geospatial information outweighed lingering concerns over potential future attacks. Over the last seven years the site has developed into a comprehensive resource of geospatial datasets and services.

The Bhuvan geoportal includes high resolution satellite image, hydrological layers (basins, sub-basin, watershed boundaries and drainage), natural resources information (land use/land cover, wasteland, soil, geology & geomorphology and urban growth), disaster related layers, water resources projects and canal network. Continuous update of the portal is planned with water quality maps using satellite data, after integrating with the field measured water quality data.

The user-friendly, android mobile application is developed to enable the public to collect and report information on various pollution sources that affect the water quality of the river Ganga. The app has provision to collect information regarding urban sewage, semi-urban/rural sewage, natural drains/nallas, industrial waste water, solid waste disposal or any other pollution source. The first version of the application is available for download from the Bhuvan Ganga portal.

New project to assess hazard exposure in five African countries

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) recently awarded a contract for the development of a physical exposure database for five countries in Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda. Key project tasks include development of spatial data on structural and infrastructural assets and estimates of their replacement costs; projection of the spatial distribution of population and Gross Domestic Product in the year 2050 consistent with socioeconomic scenario data currently under development by the research and assessment community; and collaboration with four other teams to support the integration of the exposure data with assessments of earthquake, flood, drought, and landslide hazards. Project partners include ImageCat, CIESIN, the University of Colorado Boulder, SecondMuse, and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Nairobi.

Read details here

AARSE Survey on the Utilization of African National Earth Observation Satellite Products

The African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) launched an online survey to the African community working in the field of remote sensing and geospatial information to gather more information about the satellite sensors available in Africa, the remotely sensed data usage in research and development, as well as policies.
The survey had 10 questions that ranged from availability and accessibility of data to the policy. The results of the survey have been summarized in a report. The results will help in understanding the factors that foster or hinder the access and usage of remotely sensed data.

Read report here